Domestic abuse charity Jewish Women’s Aid has launched a fundraising appeal in the wake of “unprecedented demand” for its services during the lockdown.
JWA reports that, compared to previous years, it supported 27 per cent more women in April. It also last month delivered 25 per cent more hours in direct client work than in March.
“We’re dealing with more women asking for help and more children being traumatised through witnessing the abuse,” said CEO Naomi Dickson. “So far, our support staff have been able to cope with the increase in demand. But like the rest of the sector, we believe this is the tip of the iceberg — and that as society begins to open up again, we are going to experience a level of need that we are simply not equipped to deal with.
“We are asking the community to stand against abuse by supporting our appeal.”
In a video promoting the fundraising drive, a former JWA client, “Danielle”, said that had she been in lockdown with her ex-husband, “I would be dead today and my four children would be in care. Ladies who are in abusive relationships are petrified.”
The charity believes the cost of meeting the additional demand could be as much as £100,000 over the next six-to-12 months. Because of the ban on large gatherings, it had been forced to cancel its fundraising dinner, which brought in £250,000 in 2019.
JWA now operates all core services remotely, including helplines, casework, counselling and children’s therapy. It has helped women to escape violence and abuse by finding them emergency accommodation and has also provided emergency welfare grants. It is currently supporting around 100 women and dozens of children every week.